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Popular Topics in Social Sciences
Africa: Sub-Saharan, Pre-Independence
With reports from hundreds of sub-Saharan African locales of male-male sexual relations and from about fifty of female-female sexual relations, it is clear that same-sex sexual relations existed in traditional African societies, though varying in forms and in the degree of public acceptance
 
Stonewall Riots Stonewall Riots
The confrontations between police and demonstrators at the Stonewall Inn in New York City the weekend of June 27-29, 1969 mark the beginning of the modern glbtq movement for equal rights.
 
Native Americans
A social role for individuals who crossed or mixed male and female characteristics was one of the most widely distributed institutions of native North America.
 
The Sexual Revolution, 1960-1980 The Sexual Revolution, 1960-1980
The sexual revolution of post-World War II America changed sexual and gender roles profoundly.
 
Mixed-Orientation Marriages
Mixed-orientation marriages--those in which one partner is straight and the other is gay or lesbian--often end in divorce, but such an ending is not inevitable.
 
Leather Culture
"Leather" is a blanket term for a large array of sexual preferences, identities, relationship structures, and social organizations loosely tied together by the thread of what is conventionally understood as sadomasochistic sex.
 
Transgender Activism
Since the late nineteenth century, transgendered people have advocated legal and social reforms that would ameliorate the kinds of oppression and discrimination they suffer.
 
Gay Liberation Front
Formed soon after the Stonewall Riots of 1969, the short-lived but influential Gay Liberation Front brought a new militancy to the movement that became known as gay liberation.
 
Topics In the News
 
U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron Endorses Same-Sex Marriage
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 10/10/11
Last updated on: 10/11/11
 
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Prime Minister David Cameron.

The hate-filled "Values Voters Summit" held by right-wing Christian groups and other conservatives in Washington, D.C. this past weekend turned out to be an orgy of gay-bashing. The Republican presidential candidates lined up to denounce same-sex marriage. They also pledged to reinstate Don't Ask, Don't Tell; promised to enforce and defend DOMA; and solemnly swore to oppose the "homosexual agenda." In this context of American conservatives' embrace of discrimination and bigotry, it is worth noting that at the annual conference of the U.K.'s Conservative Party on October 5, 2011, Prime Minister David Cameron forthrightly endorsed same-sex marriage as a matter of conservative principle.

Cameron announced, "We're consulting on legalizing gay marriage. To anyone who has reservations, I say: Yes, it's about equality, but it's also about something else: commitment. Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us; that society is stronger when we make vows to each other and support each other. So I don't support gay marriage despite being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I'm a Conservative."

Cameron's government, a coalition of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, announced plans to introduce legislation establishing marriage equality before the next general election, which is scheduled for 2015.

In 2004, the labor government of former Prime Minister Tony Blair passed the Civil Partnership Act, which came into force in December 2005. A civil partnership provides same-sex partners with virtually all of the rights of married heterosexual couples, including automatic legal recognition as next of kin, inheritance, and pension rights.

The most significant differences between civil partnerships and marriages are religious. Since the United Kingdom's official state church does not approve of same-sex marriage, the government made civil partnership an entirely secular process and even restricted the places where civil partnerships could be executed to non-religious venues.

Cameron's government previously announced plans to relax some of the religious restrictions on civil partnerships. For example, religious denominations and groups would be allowed, at their discretion, to host and participate in civil partnership ceremonies just as they do marriages.

However, the main objection to civil partnerships by most glbtq people, including activists such as Peter Tatchell, is that separate legal classifications are inherently unequal.

Cameron's plan to upgrade civil partnerships to marriage is thus an attempt to grant glbtq citizens full equality under the law in the United Kingdom.

His plan will be opposed by the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church, and the evangelical churches, as well as some members of his own party, but it will likely be supported by majorities of the Liberal Democratic Party and the Labor Party.

Below is a video clip of Cameron's speech at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester on October 5 in which he declares his support of same-sex marriage as a conservative principle.

 
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